Great Hoax From Little Acorns…

I learned a new word today. "Glurge", according to, an essential resource when checking the validity of dubious chain letters, glurge is the sending of

inspirational (and supposedly true) tales … that often … undermine their messages by fabricating and distorting historical fact in the guise of offering a "true story".

I came across this definition while checking on the provenance of a number of chain letters that have crossed my path in the past week or two and that I've already described elsewhere. (I'll be returning to them in more detail shortly here, though, probably as a paper rather than as a blog.)

The particular example of glurge listed by at is one of several chain letters I've seen that require me to forward chain letters in order to prove that I care about the fate of English troops in Afghanistan. (Since I do, in fact, have a close relative serving in the military, I find that somewhat offensive, and I think he would too.)

And thereby hangs a tale. Randy Abrams and I wrote a paper for this year's Virus Bulletin conference called "Whatever happened to the unlikely lads? A hoaxing metamorphosis" that traces the evolution of hoaxes from virus scare stories to emotional blackmail as the social engineering mechanism for persuading people to disseminate hoaxes and semi-hoaxes. If you think that chain letters stopped being an issue when people finally realized that there is no "Good Times" virus and that the SULFNBK hysteria was just that, it might just change your mind. You can find it on the ESET white papers page at

Director of Malware Intelligence

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Author David Harley, ESET

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